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End : and he that thinks upon good Grounds, that this End cannot be se- Sermon cured, unless every Word and Sylla- IV. ble were immediately dictated, he hath reason to believe it was so; but if any man upon good Grounds thinks the end of writing the Scripture may be fufficiently secured without that, he hath no reason to conclude, that God, who is not wanting in what is necessary, is guilty of doing what is superfluous. And if any man is of opinion that Mofes might write the History of those Actions which he himself did or was present at, without an immediate Revelation of them; or that Solomon by his natural and acquired Wisdom miglit speak those Wise Sayings which are in his Proverbs; or the Evangelists might write what they heard and saw, or what they had good Afsurance of from others, as St. Luke tells he did; or that St.Paulinight write for his Cloak and Parchments at Troas, and falute by name hisFriends and Brethrén, or that he might advise Timothy to drink a little Wine, &c. without the immediate dictate of the Spirit of God, he seems to have reason
on his side. For that men may, withVolume
out an immediate Revelation, write XII.
those things which they think without a Revelation seems very plain. And that they did so, there is this probable Argument for it, because we find that the Evangelists, in relating the Discourses of Christ, are very far from agreeing in the particular Expressions and Words, tho they do agree in the Substance of the Discourses: but if the Words had been dictated by the Spirit of God, they must have agreed in them. For when St. Luke differs from St. Matthew, in relating what our Saviour faid, it is impoflible that they should both relate it right as to the very Words and Forms of Expression ; but they both relate the SubItance of what he said. And if it had been of Concernment, that every thing that they wrote, should be di&tated ad apicem, to á tittle, by the Spirit of God, it is of the fameConcernment Itill, that the Providence of God Thould have secured the Scriptures fince to a tittle from the least alteration; which that it is not done, appears by the various readings both of the Old and New Testament, con
cerning which, no man can infallib-
that he did fuperintend them in the · writing of it, so far as to secure them
from any material Error or Mistake in what they have delivered. Or,
. 4. If the Question be, What assùrance we have from Miracles, that all those Books which we receive are canonical? To this I Answer, I do not know of any Miracle that was ever wrought on purpose to confirm the Canon of the Scriptures: but as for the Books of the Old Testament, we have sufficient assurance, that those which we now receive, are those which the Jews received for such in our Saviour's time; and he doth not any where find fault with any of them as not Canonical, which we have no reason to doubt but he would have done, if any one of them had been otherwise. And that these are the same the Jews then received, appears fuffi
ciently, because both Jews and ChriVolume stians to this day agree in them. As XII, for the Books of the New Teftament,
we are sufficiently assur'd, That these and no other are the Books which the Ancient Church received for Canonical, and of Divine Authority; and tho’ some of them were for a time controverted, yet upon farther enquiry and examination they were received.
V. Whether this Faith concerning a Divine Revelation made to others, do admit of degrees? That it doth is evident from these Expressions which the Scripture useth, of increasing Faith, of growing in it, of a weak, and strong faith, all which plainly suppose degrees. And that these degrees of Faith which the Scripture speaks of, are to be understood of a higher and lower degree of assurance concerning a Divine * Revelation as such, and concerning the things revealed, I shew'd before. For all the Doubts which the Disciples had concerning what our Saviour taught, did refolve it self into this, Whether he was the Messias, and sent by God to teach those things; which had they been fully fatisfied of,
they could have made no doubt of any
49 Sermon thing that he taught.
And here it will be proper to enquire what is the highest degree of alsurance which we can have concerning a Divine Revelation made to another, that it is such; whether it be an infallible assurance, or only an undoubted certainty. The difference between them is this; An infallible assurance is such as excludes all possibility of Error and Mistake: an undoubted certainty doth not exclude all possibility of mistake, but only all just and reasonable cause why a prudent and confiderate man should doubt. And the reason why I make this Enquiry, is in order to be satisfied of a clear and firm way for the resolution of our Faith against the Papists, who say it is impossible for us to give any fátisfactory account of our Faith, because we do finally resolve it into fallible grounds, and consequently our Faith must be fallible, and consequently cannot be Divine, because all Divine Faith is infallible: for, say they, when we enquire why you believe the Doctrines of Christian Religion; You